Tag Archives | Stephen Sondheim

Music Theatre in Australia: How Lamentable the Level of Discourse

VCA_Broadcast_BannerIt will come as no surprise to those who follow this blog, that I was haughtily lambasted by a few people who reacted to my distillation of John Senczuk’s paper for Currency House Platform as the lamentable proposition that it is – now euphemistically etched into the Oz musical theatre community’s vernacular as the “Perth Solution.”  Those who looked more carefully would have discovered that I was only one of several people who decried the ignorance inherent in that missive.

But this level of discourse is only symptomatic of a much larger malaise afflicting the industry in this country.  I’m not sure what name this malady goes by, but it has a scent that reaches all the way across the pond. Let me give you some examples.

In the latest University of Melbourne, Faculty of the VCA and MCM BROADCAST, a slight pamphlet of self-promotion for the performing arts at the University, the triple-threat, Phoebe Panaretos (currently doing a fine job in the stage version of Strictly Ballroom) is quoted as saying, “We don’t have the freedom, like they do in America, to change the cast, cut songs and try it out for a year off-Broadway. … If we’re going to get to that level, producers need to be more flexible with time.”  OK, so I know what Ms. Panaretos is getting at, but the conclusions she draws from some distant observation of the American musical theatre industry are, to be kind, somewhat wide of the mark.  Really, there ain’t much ‘freedom’ and secondly, the issue is not got anything to do with the flexibilities of time management by said, grouped, ‘producers.’  What is definitely true is that the functional systems in place to develop and refine new musical theatre, commonplace as they are in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto etc., do not exist in Australia – and therefore, to be entirely fair to Ms. Panaretos, whilst her facts are erroneous, her instincts are good. Continue Reading →

Sondheim Reveals His Secrets in O.C. Appearance

Sondheim_KerkerThis is reprint of an article in the Orange County Register newspaper from the 14 July 2012.  Eloquently written by Paul Hodgins, the piece was occasioned by the ‘Up Close & Personal’ series concert of Steve Sondheim, interviewed by Michael A. Kerker, (Director of Musical Theatre, ASCAP) with the incomparable vocal artistry of Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell.  The concert took place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Los Angeles on 13 July.  Enjoy. Continue Reading →

Stephen Sondheim Interviewed This Weekend

Stephen Sondheim and FriendsAs part of the 2011-2012 Cabaret Series at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, California, Michael Kerker, Director of Musical Theatre for ASCAP, will interview legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim this coming Saturday evening, October 27th.

This is a not-to-be-missed event (especially if you already live in California.  Go on, get up and make the effort and go – that is, if you can get a ticket?)  It’s not very often you get to hear the great man himself interviewed, let alone interviewed by ASCAP’s guru of the Musical Stage.  To top it off, you get the chance to hear Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Ebersole perform on the same programme.  Added to which Ted Firth is accompanying! Continue Reading →